Strong correlation of maximal squat strength with sprint performance and vertical jump height in elite soccer players


Sprint efforts represent up to 11% of the total distance covered in an official soccer match, which corresponds to 0.5–3.0% of effective playing time (Bangsbo et al., 1991; Reilly and Thomas, 1976; O’Donoghue, 2001). In addition, soccer players execute ~50 turns per game, comprising sustained forceful and powerful contractions to maintain balance and control of the ball against defensive pressure (Withers, 1982). A previous study demonstrated that improvements in aerobic capacity in junior soccer players increased the distance covered and number of sprints during a game (Helgerud et al., 2001). Accordingly, power ability is closely dependent on maximum strength and significant relationships have also been observed between one-repetition maximum (1RM) measurements and acceleration performance (Buhrle and Schmidtbleicher, 1977). From the above, it seems logical to suppose that strength, sprint, and jump performance would be significantly correlated. Nevertheless, it is necessary to confirm this assumption as well as to investigate whether higher levels of strength imply lower levels of oxygen consumption in soccer players.


To determine the relationships between strength, sprinting, and vertical jumping capabilities in professional soccer players. A secondary objective was to verify the influence of maximum strength levels on aerobic capacity.


After analyzing the correlations between strength, sprint, and jump performance and examining the levels of strength and aerobic capacities in elite soccer players, the authors concluded that:

  • There were strong correlations between maximum strength in half squat exercise and 10-m shuttle run, and 10- and 30-m linear sprint performance.
  • There was a strong correlation between maximum strength in half squat exercise and vertical jumping height.
  • Higher levels of strength do not necessarily imply lower levels of oxygen consumption in elite soccer players.


Strength training with emphasis on maximal mobilization of concentric actions may possibly improve the sprint and jump performance of professional soccer players. These athletes can simultaneously present high levels of strength and aerobic capacities.


  • Loaded-squat-based movements should be frequently performed by elite soccer players. Stronger players (especially in relative terms) are probably able to sprint faster and jump higher.
  • Coaches should regularly assess the neuromuscular performance of their players via practical field tests (e.g., vertical jump tests) in order to balance the adaptations provided by both strength- and aerobic-based (e.g., soccer-specific activities) training sessions.
  • The constant monitoring and adjustment of these strength-power-related capabilities throughout the season may allow coaches to maintain their teams at high performance levels.

Bangsbo J, Nørregaard L, Thorsøe F. Activity profile of competition soccer. Can J Sport Sci 1991:110–16.

Reilly T, Thomas V. A motion analysis of work-rate in different positional roles in professional football match-play. Journal of Human Movement Studies 1976:87–97.

O’Donoghue P. Time-motion analysis of work rate in elite soccer. In: Notational analysis of sport IV. Porto: Centre for Team Sports Studies, Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education, University of Porto/HM Tavares Fernando, 2001:65–70.

Helgerud J, Engen LC, Wisløff U, et al. Aerobic endurance training improves soccer performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2001; 33:1925–31.

Withers RT. Match analyses of Australian professional soccer players. Journal of Human Movement Studies 1982; 8:159–76.

Buhrle M, Schmidtbleicher D. Der einfluss von maximalkrafttraining auf die bewegungsschnelligkeit (The influence of maximum strength training on movement velocity). Leistungssport 1977; 7:3–10.